Academy Reverses Decision on Not Airing 4 Award Categories Following Social Media Uproar

After less than a week of outrage from Hollywood, Oscar voters and social media, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced Friday that all 24 Oscar categories will be presented live ABC's Feb. 24 broadcast.

The Academy issued a brief statement on Friday assuring everyone that it will drop the idea of presenting four categories during commercial breaks to ensure the awards show would only run three hours. It hoped that running the presentations tape-delayed later in the broadcast would appease concerns the crafts would be ignored, but it did the exact opposite.

The Academy "has heard the feedback from its membership regarding the Oscar presentation of four awards — Cinematography, Film Editing, Live Action Short, and Makeup and Hairstyling," it said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. "All Academy Awards will be presented without edits, in our traditional format. We look forward to Oscar Sunday, February 24."

After months of rumors and speculation, Academy president John Bailey sent a letter to members on Monday confirming that Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Live Action Short and Best Makeup & Hairstyling would be presented during commercial breaks. The plan was to rotate the four categories presented during commercials each year, so four different categories would not be presented live at next year's ceremonies.

This led to an instant revolt from movie fans, actors and respected filmmakers. The guilds that represent cinematographers, editors and makeup artists also called on the Academy to reverse the decision.

"I would not presume to suggest what categories should occur during commercials on Oscars night, but, please: Cinematography & Editing are at the very heart of our craft," filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro, who directed last year's Best Picture winner The Shape of Water, tweeted. "They are not inherited from a theatrical or literary tradition: they are cinema itself."

"In the history of CINEMA, masterpieces have existed without sound, without color, without a story, without actors and without music. No one single film has ever existed without CINEMAtography and without editing," director Alfonso Cuaron, whose Roma was nominated for Best Picture this year, tweeted.

Directors Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino and Spike Lee, cinematographer Roger Deakins and Robert Richardson and editors Tom Cross and Mary Jo Markey also signed an open letter, calling the move "nothing less than an insult to those of us who have devoted our lives and passions to our chosen profession. More than 200 cinematographers, 75 directors and 80 actors signed the open letter.

On Thursday night, American Society of Cinematographers members, including two-time Oscar-winner Emmanuel Lubezki, met with Academy CEO Dawn Hudson and Bailey, a cinematographer himself. ASC president Kees van Oostrum told THR it was a "very productive and positive" meeting.

This is the latest decision to radically alter this year's Oscars the Academy has been forced to walk back. Last year, the Academy announced the "Best Popular Film" Oscar, which was met with an instant outcry and later dropped. There were also scrapped plans to only perform two of the five Best Original Song nominees. Lastly, there will also be no host this year after comedian Kevin Hart resigned when old homophobic tweets resurfaced.


The 91st Academy Awards are scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 24 on ABC.

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